“My audience are the people who think God is dead,” Flannery O’Connor said. Her stories are shocking and sometimes violent for this very reason. O’Connor’s goal was to illustrate how the Grace of God operates in our lives. “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful,” O’Connor observed. We will read several stories and essays by O’Connor, along with some letters she wrote to friends, in which she displays her profound love of Christ and her deep understanding of how storytelling can bring people - in surprising ways - to the glory of God. This course is especially good for aspiring writers, as O’Connor often wrote on “the process of writing”, and we will examine her stories not merely for the meaning in them, but to understand more deeply their art and intricacy.
(Note that though these stories are deeply Catholic and perhaps the most profoundly Christian fiction of the 20th century, they can be disturbing; they also contain characters who use racist terms that were once common in the South.)